CoJMC Grad Coordinates Big Change in Lincoln Community

CoJMC Grad Coordinates Big Change in Lincoln Community

Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 10:30am
Erin Lenz
Lenz has always been involved in non-profits, but never expected it to turn into a career path. All of that changed during her senior year. (Photo by Alli Inglebright)

By Raquel Hughes, Junior Advertising and Public Relations Major

Most people see pocket change as an annoyance, but for Erin Lenz it means so much more.

Born and raised in Lincoln, Lenz decided to stay close to her roots and attend college at UNL. After starting as a Journalism major, Lenz took one public relations class and fell in love. While Lenz has always been involved in non-profits, such as being a part of the Bateman team through UNL, she never expected it to turn into a career path. All of that changed during her senior year.

While at the 2016 Bateman Competition, a national non-profit case study campaign held annually by PRSSA, Professor Phyllis Larsen told Lenz about a job that she thought would be perfect for her. That job was as a development coordinator for the Lincoln non-profit, The Friendship Home. On a whim, Lenz decided to apply for the position and the rest is history.

At her new position, Lenz found herself surprised with just how many opportunities her new job allowed her. She is in charge of tasks of all varieties, such as running Friendship Home social media accounts, website maintenance, event planning, and community education. Lenz also works very closely with the media, often doing radio and television interviews.

“I love working at a place that allows me to do all the things I love about PR,” said Lenz. “The fact that I’m doing media relations, community relations, donor relations and more is a lot of fun. I’m learning so much in this position and I never get bored!”

It’s clear that Lenz enjoys her job, and the encouragement she has from those around her only makes it that much better. Former classmate, Bateman teammate, and friend, Bari Pearlman, also agrees that Lenz is the perfect fit.

“Erin worked so hard with our Bateman team, I can only imagine she’s going full force into her job at Friendship Home,” said Lenz. “It’s been really cool to watch her use skills from the classroom to make a difference in the Lincoln community.”

This fall Lenz was tasked with planning Safe Quarters, an annual event put on by Friendship Home and hundreds of local volunteers. The goal of Safe Quarters is for volunteers to go around to door steps in neighborhoods throughout Lincoln, and ask for donations for Friendship Home. Any amount, from pocket change to substantial donations makes an immense difference for those who depend on Friendship Home. Lenz is in charge of all details surrounding Safe Quarters, from ordering t-shirts to assigning volunteer groups to neighborhoods throughout the city of Lincoln.

“There is so much that goes in to making this event possible. It’s a lot of small parts that need to come together so that can be tough to coordinate sometimes,” said Lenz.

The small parts all came together this year, as Safe Quarters raised $111,635 on the day of the event. That’s nearly $10,000 more than they raised the previous year, with donations still being mailed in. Lenz believes that the event was a huge overall success, and went without a hitch.

Although Lenz is perfect for her position with Friendship Home, especially when it comes to interviews and community education, Lenz actually considers herself an introvert. When she isn't at work, Lenz enjoys her alone time and often spends it with her nose in a book. Friends would describe Lenz as not only kind and caring, which can go unsaid thanks to her work with the Friendship Home, but also sarcastic and a good listener.

Whether it be planning a city-wide event, conducting interviews, updating Friendship Home’s social media, or reading a new book, Erin Lenz gives it her all.